Motorists and two-wheeler riders who venture out after 1 pm on Friday are likely to be caught in traffic snarls in the city and will be forced to take detours to reach their destinations, according to the traffic police.
They say that they will regulate traffic flow on the arterial Kowdiar-Vellayambalam-R.R.Lamp-Palayam-East Fort road from 1 p.m. on account of the preparations for that evening pageantry, which will mark the conclusion of the Onam Week celebrations in the capital.
No traffic will be allowed on the stretch from 3 p.m. to enable all elements of the pageantry to form up in order at Kowdiar Square before the flag-off at 5 p.m.
The police also anticipate large crowds of excited spectators, a significant number of them from the outlying areas of the district, to throng the footpaths to watch the colourful parade pass by.
The pageantry comprises 75 carnival floats on varied themes and 45 groups of performing artists, acrobats, martial art teams, and roller-skaters. Bedecked elephants and the Mounted Unit of the Kerala Police will lend majesty to the pageantry.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and other State dignitaries will view the public celebration from a specially prepared podium in front of the University College. The college campus will be off-bounds to citizens from Thursday. Vehicles of VIPs, emergency services, and the special weapons and tactics team of the State Police will be parked there.
In view of the increased threat perception to Mr. Chandy, the bomb detection and disposal squad of the State police will “sanitise” each carnival float before it is allowed to participate in the pageantry.
The police have vetted all the persons, including the drivers of the carnival floats, scheduled to participate in the pageantry. The participants have been security-cleared and issued passes for the function. One Sub Inspector assisted by a Civil Police Officer will accompany each element of the pageantry.
1,500 policemen, divided into 10 units and each commanded by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, will be deployed.
The units will be assigned to regulate a particular segment of the road through which the pageantry will pass. Plainclothesmen and women will be deployed in strength to apprehend drunks, chain snatchers, pickpockets, and those who harass women in public places.
The first of the carnival floats are expected to arrive at the culmination point of the pageantry at East Fort only by 8 p.m. The police say that they expect the public celebrations to conclude only by 9.30 p.m. The festival crowds are expected to clear the city by 11 p.m. However, the entire schedule may get upset if rain plays spoilsport on Friday evening.